Death Classification: Performance of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 34 years, 11 months, 24 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 16th District - Jefferson Park
District of Incident (Present Day): 016 - Jefferson Park
Cause of Death: Illness - Cardiac Arrest
Age at Time of Death: 56
Date of Birth: 09 Dec 1924
Date of Appointment: 11 Feb 1946
Date of Incident: 016 - Jefferson Park
End of Watch: 04 Feb 1981
Date of Interment: 07 Feb 1981
Cemetery: All Saints Catholic Cemetery - Des Plaines, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 8, Lot 41, Block 20, Section 44
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-7
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 14
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 35
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 16-E: 1
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Richard Francis Gipson, Star #3451, aged 56 years, was a 34 year, 11 month, 24 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 16th District – Jefferson Park O’Hare International Airport Detail.
On February 4, 1981, at 11:30 a.m., one day away from retirement, he was directing traffic at O’Hare International Airport on the upper level when he was called into the American Airlines terminal to investigate two suspicious women, Brandie Mason, age 27, of 1834 North Orleans Avenue and Denise Herlihy, age 30, of 1834 North Orleans Avenue. The women had purchased two Trans World Airlines (TWA) airline tickets from Chicago to Newark with a stolen American Express credit card in the name of Marayat M. Mark. At approximately 10:00 a.m. the women had made it onto the plane, but before it departed an TWA employee, Mr. R. E. Zingaro, confirmed the tickets were purchased with a stolen credit card. The two women were deplaned and sent on their way. The TWA employees then notified American and United Airlines by phone about the suspicious pair. Shortly thereafter Mason approached an American Airline ticket counter with Herlihy and attempted to purchase another pair of tickets. This time they attempted to pay by check using three forms of identification in the name of Mary Gillis. The American Airlines employee, Janice Dye was working the counter with Herb Briick, airline security officer. Using a ruse, Mr. Briick asked the women to follow him to his office to “ straighten the matter out.“ He escorted the two women into his office where Officer Gipson was waiting. Mr. Briick then contacted the bank to confirm the checks authenticity. The bank was able to confirm that the check was stolen and being used fraudulently. Mr. Briick then hung up the phone and informed Officer Gipson that the two women were phonies. At this time Mason reached over the desk and grabbed the check attempting to eat same. A struggle ensued in an attempt to preserve the evidence and in the process Officer Gipson was knocked to the floor. After a short struggle Mr. Briick was able to gain control and place both Mason and Herlihy in hand cuffs. It was then that he realized Officer Gipson was still lying on the floor unconscious. Mr. Briick then summoned help and CFD Ambulance #16 arrived. Upon arrival Ambulance #16 requested help from Ambulance #39 which arrived a few minutes later. The paramedics gave medical attention to the officer until approximately 1:00 p.m. Officer Gipson was transported to Resurrection Hospital by CFD Ambulance #16 where he was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Ney at 1:25 p.m. on February 4, 1981. His cause of death was determined to be from occlusive coronary atherosclerotic heart disease in association with stress by the Medical Examiner.
Both women were arrested and eventually transported to the Area 5 Violent Crimes Unit located at 5555 West Grand Avenue. On February 4, 1981, at 10:20 p.m., Brandie Mason was charged with two counts of forgery and aggravated battery. Denise Herlihy was charged with theft.
Officer Gipson was waked at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home located at 6150 North Cicero Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Thecla Church located at 6725 West Devon Avenue. He was laid to rest on February 7, 1981 in All Saints Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum, 700 North River Road, Des Plaines, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 8, Lot 41, Block 20, Section 44.
Patrolman Richard Francis Gipson, born December 9, 1924, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on February 11, 1946 and was issued Star #6912. On October 10, 1947, he was Dropped from the Rolls. On February 14, 1948, he was reinstated and issued Patrolman Star #3205. On April 27, 1953, he was reinstated and issued Patrolman Star #2838. On December 6, 1956, he was issued Patrolman Star #11766. On February 3, 1971, he was issued Patrolman Star #3451.
Officer Gipson served in the U.S. Army, was a veteran of World War II and was Honorably Discharged. He was also a member of the Illinois Police Association, Fraternal Order of Police and the St. Jude Police League. Officer Gipson was survived by his wife, Irene E. (nee Byrne); daughter, Gail Patricia Facchini, age 29; mother, Marie Serena (nee Dogan); siblings: John and Patricia Gilbert and grandchildren: Mark Facchini and William Facchini, III. He was preceded in death by his father, Francis Wiley and siblings: Donald Edward, Infant Gipson (1942) and Infant Gipson (1944).
On November 14, 2006, Officer Gipson’s star was retired by Superintendent Philip J. Cline and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 South Michigan Avenue.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #C044246.